Still trying to piece together a complete 40-minute game, the Atlanta Dream look to snap an eight-game losing streak Saturday when they open a road trip against the Indiana Fever.
Atlanta (5-18) has the worst record in the WNBA in what has become a lost season as star Angel McCoughtry recovers from a torn ACL. Though the Dream have finally edged ahead of Dallas to no longer be the lowest-scoring team in the league, they are still last in shooting, and that again plagued them in an 85-69 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Nicki Collen’s team shot 33.3 percent for the game and 6 of 25 (24 percent) from 3-point range. Compounding those issues was turning the ball over 18 times and gifting the Lynx 25 points off those miscues.
Despite the poor shooting, the Dream were within three midway through the fourth quarter before the Lynx closed out the game on an 18-5 tear. The loss marked the eighth straight contest Atlanta shot below 40 percent.
“You can compete for a long time shooting 33 percent because our half-court defense was really good,” Collen told the Dream’s official website. “But when they have numbers in transition, when they’re getting offensive rebounds, it still comes down to so many of their points – 21 points on second-chance points, 21 points at the foul line and 25 points off turnovers.”
The Dream, whose road swing also ventures west to Las Vegas and Phoenix, have dropped five straight on the road since a 77-66 victory at Seattle on July 5.
Indiana (8-16) was denied a season-high third straight victory Tuesday night, losing 91-78 at Washington. Kelsey Mitchell scored 18 points off the bench and Candice Dupree added 16, but the Fever also struggled to value the basketball, committing 16 turnovers that led to 25 points for the Mystics.
A second-year guard from Ohio State, Mitchell appears to have finally found her niche coming off the bench for Indiana. She has totaled 38 points and hit 8 of 18 from 3-point range in her last two games after enduring a difficult stretch in which she totaled 21 points while shooting 25 percent (8 for 32) in her previous four games combined.
“You get used to something and you’re trying to find a way to be effective at what you were used to,” Mitchell told The Athletic about the switch. “Everybody says I’m young, everybody says I’m still learning. I just want to find a comfort spot, so when I went from one thing to coming off the bench and getting a lineup change, it was good for the team, but it was different for me.”
The Fever have not won three straight at home since May 20-June 3, 2017, and are trying to inch closer to their first 10-win season since going 17-17 in 2016. Indiana snapped an eight-game home losing streak in the most recent matchup between the teams, edging Atlanta 61-59 on July 31 as Erica Wheeler hit a go-ahead layup with 11.9 seconds to play and Teaira McCowan preserved the victory with two blocks in the closing seconds.
(Tiffany Mitchell photo courtesy Indiana Fever official Twitter account)